By now we all know that as businesses, we don’t own our brand quite the way we used to. (Actually we never did it just wasn’t as easy to spread the word about brands as it is today via the internet.) We also know that if you aren’t participating in the conversation then you’re losing out on an opportunity to build brand equity through transparency. The question becomes; what happens to the nature of brands, once they are in the hands (seen/shared) of the online community?
My suggestion is to think of this the same way I think about knowing someone. The more experience you have with them the more you really know them. Over time it becomes more than “Just Do It”; it has to. Each interaction is another layer that makes up our perception of that person. Brands have fought like hell to keep the message simple so people could remember that brand in a sea of brands, but the online community makes that impossible. People take brand identities and personalize them (positive or negative) through Tweets, blog posts, ads, etc. Brands become memorable because people have had experiences (directly or vicariously) with them and then share with others. Over time this creates brand depth. The goal is still to get people talking about your brand but you then need participate in that conversation. This will build brand depth.